SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Biden administration is taking note of the effort by opponents of Gavin Newsom to recall him from office, and is publicly siding with the embattled California governor.

On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted Tuesday that President Joe Biden “clearly opposes any effort” to recall Newsom. The governor’s popularity in the liberal state has tumbled amid the state’s COVID ongoing restrictions along with vaccine rollout missteps, coupled with a public backlash over his dining out with friends while urging the public to stay home.

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For four years, California has led the charge against former President Trump’s policies, including filing more than 100 legal actions against the administration, mostly over environmental issues. And the state has become a haven of sorts for former Obama-era White House officials who landed government jobs in California regulating the world’s fifth-largest economy while Republicans ruled Washington.

The Biden administration — with California-born Kamala Harris as the vice president — has signaled it would align with the goals California has long espoused on environmental issues.

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“The really ambitious goals that [Biden] has in his plan, a lot of them are modeled on California,” state Secretary for Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld told Politico last month.

The Biden White House also mirrors California’s dim view of the deregulation policies in the environmental sector and in other industries favored by the previous administration. On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice voluntarily dismissed a suit filed in 2018 against California’s net neutrality law, the toughest one in the country.

Aside from the state’s pandemic response, adding to Newsom’s tumbling job approval numbers recently is the pervasive fraud in the state’s Employment Development Department which has caused billions in losses of people’s unemployment benefits and pandemic stimulus payments.

Organizers say they have nearly enough petition signatures to get the recall placed on the ballot, with 1.4 million out of the 1.5 million needed by March 15, although the tally has yet to be fully verified by election officials.

If the recall effort qualifies, an election likely would occur in late summer or fall.

 

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